The NSW state government is proposing changes to the cost of public transport which will see self-funded retirees stripped of Gold Opal cards and pensioners paying more for public transport.
You may be aware that the NSW Government recently commissioned IPART (Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal) to review the cost of passenger travel when using the Opal Card.
This review includes fares for bus, rail, ferry and light rail travel. In the draft report to Government, IPART has included the following recommended changes to senior fares and the Gold Opal card:
- The Gold Opal Card would only be available for those who hold a pensioner or NSW war widow/ers card and that the daily cap should be set at 40% of the concession weekday cap ($3.60 for 2016-17, $3.80 for 2017-18 and $4.00 for 2018-19.
- Seniors card holders who do not also hold a pensioner or NSW war widow/ers card should only be eligible for a Concession Opal card, in which case the daily maximum fare would increase to $9 per day, from the current $2.50.
- You can read the draft report here
Jamie Parker MP believes these changes could have a negative effect on your daily and weekly activities, including family and community responsibilities.
The cost increase proposed to the Gold Opal Card may put public transport out of reach of some seniors as it is not reflected in the incremental increases in the aged pension and war widow/ers pension. Many self-funded retirees may not qualify for the pension despite living on modest incomes not too dissimilar to the amount to the pension.
Here is some recent media about the proposed changes:
Sydney Morning Herald 21/12/15 – End looms for $150 million Opal card loophole …
News.com 22/12/15 – Regular recommends sweeping changes …
Sydney Morning Herald 18/1/16 – Gold Opal: proposal to strip self-funded retirees …
National Seniors 21/1/16 – Changes to Gold Opal could put public transport out of reach
WHAT JAMIE PARKER MP IS DOING:
Jamie will be writing to the Minister for Transport and the Minister for the Ageing to express his concerns on behalf of seniors in the electorate and to highlight the negative implications to our community.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
We urge you to respond to the recommendations by lodging your concerns to IPART before 5pm this Friday 5 February.
You don't need to write a lot of detail. Just your personal concerns about the proposed price increases and what they will mean for your use of public transport. Click here for the online submission form
If you have any trouble with the form, please call our office on 9660 7586 and we will find other ways to make your views known.
If you wish to post your submission, the address is below but remember that mail can now take a few days' longer:
Review of Public Transport Fares
Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal
PO Box K35
Haymarket Post Shop NSW 1240